Dear Urban Diplomat: My kid’s hockey coach dropped an F-bomb in a post-game speech. Is that acceptable behaviour?

Dear Urban Diplomat: My kid’s hockey coach dropped an F-bomb in a post-game speech. Is that acceptable behaviour?

I want to make a complaint, but I don’t want my kid to seem like a snitch

My 10-year-old plays in a minor hockey league. Last week, the coach dropped an F-bomb in his post-game speech after a loss. I’m no prude, but that seems over the top for a bunch of tweens playing for fun. Should I make a complaint to the team’s manager, or is this just the type of tough love that builds character? I’m also worried that by ratting out the coach it might make me—and my son—seem lame to the other players and parents.
—Unsportsmanlike Conduct, East Danforth

Unless you’ve somehow shielded your son from the outside world, I guarantee he’s heard the F-word before. What’s more worrisome is how the coach is teaching those little pucksters to deal with the disappointment of a loss. Tough love is fine; cussing out a group of grade schoolers is not. He should be showing the kids how to manage their emotions in productive ways. Approach the coach directly and express your discomfort with his attitude. It’s a good opportunity to teach your son how to deal with objectionable behaviour—even if it means becoming a pariah among the other hockey parents.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
Six months ago, I got a new manager at work. I’m a marketing assistant at a tech start-up, and social media is a big part of the industry, so I followed her on Twitter a couple of weeks after she started. She didn’t follow me back. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but now it’s been so long that I’m getting offended. I feel like because I don’t have that many followers, she thinks I’m not important enough. Should I ask her about it?
—Social Anxiety, Runnymede

There’s an unspoken rule that governs social media. If you don’t have many followers, someone with a higher count typically won’t follow you. Quite frankly, she’s probably just trying to increase her follower ratio—her total followers divided by the number of people she’s following—which is how clout is measured these days. If that is, in fact, the case here, asking her about it will make you seem even more uncool. Just let it go.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live on the top floor of a Victorian in Trinity-Bellwoods, and I share a hallway with the downstairs tenants, who always leave the light on overnight. I don’t want to seem like the green police, but we’re facing a climate crisis right now. Every bit of energy we can save, we should. How do I tell them they need to turn the lights off without sounding like an eco-fascist?
—Dark Knight, Trinity-Bellwoods

Wasting energy overnight is admittedly excessive, but there’s no need to shame your neighbours right away. Perhaps they have a legitimate reason for wanting the hallway light on. Ask them if they feel the extra watts are really necessary. Then, if they’re not keen to join the eco-crusade, suggest splitting the cost of a motion sensor bulb for the hallway. Better yet, ask the landlord to shell out for one. It would be a small price to pay for preserving tenant harmony—and the planet.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
For years, my best friend and I have spent every Valentine’s Day together, ruthlessly making fun of the corporate holiday. We were both single, so it became a ritual. But I started dating someone this year, and my perspective has changed. I still think the holiday is overblown, but it would be nice to spend it alone with my partner. How can I explain this to my friend?
—Valentine’s Day Massacre, the Annex

Despite your long-time campaign against Cupid, you have every right to spend the holiday doing schmaltzy things. Your friend should be happy you found someone, but be sure not to leave them feeling outright abandoned. Suggest that the two of you do something exciting that same week to make up for this year’s change of plans. Leave out the mushy details of your date unless they ask, and don’t take it personally if your friend ribs you for becoming part of the lovestruck masses.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
We just moved into a new house, and the previous owners had a subscription to the New Yorker. We’ve been getting their copies for the last few weeks. I was expecting them to update their mailing address, but it hasn’t happened. I don’t mind the mix-up and quite like reading the magazine, but my wife says we should contact them through the realtor and let them know. My feeling is if they haven’t taken the time to update their info, it’s finders keepers, right?
—Taking Issue, Parkdale

The decent thing would be to give the intended receivers a heads-up that you’re getting their glossies. After all, you wouldn’t hoard any other piece of their mail (I hope), and for all you know, they may have already attempted to change their address without success. If you act in good faith and they still don’t make any changes, feel free to keep mooching. It’s nice to know that someone will be enjoying those abandoned copies.